Cardinals in the Snow

“Cardinals sit like bright gift bows on snowy branches and bring cheer to colorless winter days.” c.e.hollis

Loving Winter

Not a leaf is left on the sky-reaching branches of the sycamore tree outside my family room window. The cardinals love the debarked limbs and the seed feeders hung like Christmas tree ornaments in its branches. They are winter birds that stay here for the duration and enjoy the cold weather. I counted four pairs this morning and in coming weeks more will move in until we have ten or twelve couples.

The sycamore reigns over the farm. It has grown taller now than any of the oaks or pecan trees. My children used to love climbing and playing up in the branches amid the dinnerplate sized leaves. The tree shades my porch and makes the side yard a nicer place for sitting on a hot summer’s day. In the fall we light our patio fire pit, wrap ourselves in blankets, and sit out on the porch swing evenings to listen to the farm.

There is the sound of our cows, the mamas bawling at calves, the mooing, and contented lowing at the “brother-herd.” There is the sound of the wind rattling the clusters of dry leaves in the big oak. It sounds like an African rain stick, almost like fine but unsteady rainfall  on a tin roof. There is the sound of dogs barking and occasionally a pack of coyotes howling at the night. Often we hear owls: screech owls whinnying, great horned owls laughing, barking, yipping, and who-who-who-who-whoing back and forth  to one another from the creek banks and the screech of spook-faced barn owls.

The cardinals songs are varied and musical whistles with tweets and churrs thrown in. They are happy sounds in the dreary wintertime. Their color on a drab gray day or on a snowy day sends a message of hope––beautiful, sweet hope amid the troubles and trials and the harsh parts of life.

Cactus Blossom

fullsizeoutput_7accThe Color White

By Elece Hollis

Spring is yellow forsythia and daffodils, red of tulips, hyacinth purple, white crocus, lilies and all shades of bright.

Summer is every color under the sky-blue, it’s every shade of green, white clover, and red roses a picket fence.

Fall has crimson apples, sunflowers, leaves of orange, yellow, and Sweetgum purple, honeysuckle, and white of frost on the windows.

Winter is brown and gray, but holds white of the first falling snow, white of moon’s shine and sparkling stars.

White is a country church’s freshly painted steeple, white flesh of a river trout, of salt, of a lamb’s wool

White of new cotton socks, white of sifted bread flour, white of butterfly wings and angel robes in Christmas plays.

White is drifting clouds, white of pages between the lines, of coconut milk,  a polar bear fur, of egret’s feathers.

White of a bride’s gown, a porcelain sink, powdered sugar, whipped cream for pumpkin pie, white of wave crests and thundering waterfalls,

I love white. White is every color, every place, every season––every rhyme.